Type to search

China’s Top Bankers Sleep in Offices as Shanghai Locks Down

Over 20,000 bankers, traders and other workers are bedding down in office towers in Lujiazui district as they bid to keep China’s financial hub ticking through its Covid lockdown

Birds fly above the Lujiazui financial district, amid the lockdown to contain the spread of Covid in Shanghai, on March 28, 2022. Photo: Aly Song, Reuters.


More than 20,000 bankers, traders and other workers are bedding down in office towers in Shanghai’s Lujiazui district as they bid to keep China’s giant financial hub ticking over through a Covid-19 lockdown, according to local officials.

Brokerages, asset managers and financial exchanges in Lujiazui – China’s answer to Wall Street – rushed to summon key personnel to offices ahead of Monday’s lockdown in Shanghai, and prepared sleeping bags and basic supplies for overnight stays.

Some have also adopted two-team rotation shifts, and initiated disaster recovery centres in a financial hub that processed more than 2,500 trillion yuan ($292 trillion) of financial transactions last year.

The 20,000 people working at 285 office towers in Pudong’s Lujiazui Financial City, east of the Huangpu River, include white collar workers and some service staff, according to the district’s administration bureau, also home to some non-financial institutions.

Shanghai, home to 26 million people, started a lockdown on Monday by dividing the city roughly along the Huangpu River, to allow for staggered testing. Shanghai houses China’s biggest markets for stock, bond, foreign exchange and derivative trading.

Amundi BOC Wealth Management Co said its senior executives, as well as key investment, trading and risk-management staff are working and sleeping in their offices, to ensure smooth business operations.


Two-Team Rotation Shifts

Meanwhile, Haitong Securities Co said chairman Zhou Jie arranged emergency on-site duty shifts at its subsidiaries in Pudong on Sunday night, and led more than 150 key staff to work in offices starting Monday. The brokerage also kicked off two-team rotation shifts between its two office areas, it said on its official website.

HFT Investment Management, BNP Paribas’ Chinese fund venture, also put 52 workers in key positions in offices around the clock during the lockdown period.

Elsewhere, Sinolink Securities issued a notice on Sunday night, urging its staff on duty to rush back to its headquarters in Pudong before midnight, so as to “ensure continuity of system operation and trading,” the Chinese brokerage said on its website.

An executive at a foreign bank in Shanghai, who declined to be identified, said his bank is on a hybrid working model, with some staff working and sleeping at a backup office in Puxi, in the western side of the city, with some others staying in a trading room in Pudong.

A source at another foreign bank said the lender had been using disaster recovery centres for over a week, a practice that will continue.

The officials declined to be identified because they are not authorised to speak to media.

The Shanghai Stock Exchange said it kept minimum teams of staff in key positions within the bourse, while others work from home in an arrangement designed to minimise human contacts, while ensuring safety of trading.


• Reuters with additional editing by Jim Pollard




Shanghai Tightens Covid Lockdown on Second Day of Curbs


Tesla Suspends Shanghai Factory Work for Four Days over Covid


Shanghai to Lock Down in Two Stages for Covid Testing


Jim Pollard

Jim Pollard is an Australian journalist based in Thailand since 1999. He worked for News Ltd papers in Sydney, Perth, London and Melbourne before travelling through SE Asia in the late 90s. He was a senior editor at The Nation for 17+ years.


AF China Bond